There's a lot of talk about whether the emergence of mobile and tablet gaming marks the end of traditional gaming platforms. Just three weeks ago, Epic Games basically said just that – that mobile gaming was competing with console gaming and would soon compete with the PC as well. After all, why spend a couple hundred on a console and another $60 on a game when you can use a phone or tablet you probably already own and spend far less on each game? Adam Boyes, VP of Publisher Relations for Sony Computer Entertainment America (SCEA), thinks that notion is a bit ridiculous. I had the privilege of attending the 2012 NY Games Conference yesterday, where in a keynote speech, he likened gaming to the food industry. In the food industry, you have vending machines, fast food, and sit-down restaurants. All of them coexist peacefully because they all offer something different for different situations.
Boyes says gaming is the same way. Mobile gaming is like vending machines – they offer bite-size gaming on the go. Most people play in 5-30-minute bursts. Tablet gaming and portable gaming (PS Vita and 3DS) are like fast food. They offer significantly more than vending machines, but are still quick on-the-go platforms that you may devote maybe 1-2 hours on at a time. And then lastly, we have console and PC gaming, which constitute the full-service, sit-down restaurants. If a person wants a full, enriching gaming experience, they sit down on their couch or chair, crank up their surround sound or throw on a headset, and fire up their console or PC. Like the food industry, there's no reason to think gamers want just one of those experiences every single time they feel like playing a game.
While it may seem odd at first to compare gaming to the food industry, I think Boyes' analogy is very apt. There's no reason all gaming platforms can't coexist peacefully. Mobile devices and tablets are still not capable of producing the hardcore gaming experiences you can get on the consoles and PC, and although the PS Vita may offer comparable graphics to the PS3, playing on a 5" screen is simply not the same as playing on a television or monitor.